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Usman Jan named new chief of IMU

world Updated: Oct 03, 2009 13:25 IST

The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) has named hitherto unknown commander Usman Jan as its new chief in place of Tahir Yuldashev, who was killed in a US drone attack in Pakistan's lawless South Waziristan tribal region.

Usman Jan was named the new head of the IMU in the wake of reports of Yuldashev's death, Dawn News quoted its sources as saying.

However, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has denied that Yuldashev was killed in a drone attack. "Qari Tahir Yuldashev is alive and safe. Reports about his death in a drone attack are baseless," Qari Hussain, a Taliban spokesman, told reporters in Peshawar on phone on Friday.

Qari Hussain, known as a trainer of suicide bombers, is the cousin of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan's new head Hakimullah Mehsud, who replaced Baitullah Mehsud following the latter's death in a missile strike in South Waziristan on August 5.

Reports have said that Yuldashev died of injuries he sustained in a drone attack in Kanigoram area of South Waziristan on Aug 27.

According to a report prepared by intelligence officials, Yuldashev lost a leg and an arm in the attack and he was rushed to a private hospital in Zhob district of Balochistan, where he died on October 1.

A sizeable number of Uzbek militants are currently based in Pakistan's tribal belt bordering Afghanistan. Most of them are allied to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.